Note: Today Charie will be on Reddit Ask Me Anything. Go find her!
Hi my name is Charie D. La Marr, creator of the genre Circuspunk. Some of you might know me from Facebook as Persiphone Hellecat and some might even know me from the nine years I spent as a professional clown as Kotton Kandy.
So why, do you ask, does a person who spent nine years wearing the motley suddenly start writing stories where clowns blow up? First of all, that is only a part of Circuspunk. Circuspunk can bring in any other genres that you want—from romance to sci fi and everything inbetween. The stories include circuses, carnivals and fairs, midways, freak shows and sideshows, clown, magicians, freaks, acrobats, carnies … all of it!
And the reason is simple. Behind all that splatter and funk, I love the circus! This is a very irreverent, but loving look at a subject near and dear to my heart. But I just got tired of hearing people say, “I #$%$%$% hate clowns!” I would show them my picture and they would agree that as a clown, I was adorable, but they still hated clowns and wanted to see them wiped off the face of the earth. So I decided, if people want to blow up clowns, let’s do it MY way—with tongue firmly planted in cheek. And so Circuspunk was born. I hope that it makes people laugh and desensitizes that clown phobia. I consider it an antidote.
Now, that is not to say that I don’t understand clown phobia in children. As a clown, I took many courses in the psychology of children and how to handle them. I understand that we raise our kids telling them not to talk to strangers. And yet the first time they see a clown, they push the kid into the clown’s arms and get out the camera. I would freak too if my parents made me hug the strangest person I ever saw! I learned to get down to their level, stay back and talk softly and work to gain their trust until they came to me. I would talk about what was on their t-shirts, what their favorite subject in school was, anything to loosen them up and gain their confidence. And the truth was, I ended up in literally thousands of baby books because I never met a kid who ended up not liking me.
Sadly, I cannot say the same of their parents. I was a performing clown. I did magic shows, I walked around with magic tricks in my pockets and puppets. I was not a gumball machine. I didn’t give out cheap trinkets or make animal balloons. I saw way too many parents allow young ones to suck on those balloons and once saw a kid have to have a cheap ten cent ring pulled out of her throat.
My message is simple. Love us. We walk around all day in costumes that sometimes weigh close to ten pounds with wigs and full makeup in the hot sun. We get shin splints from working on unforgiving concrete surfaces. We work hard taking classes and keeping our skills and talents sharp and growing. And we ask nothing more from you than a smile. Is that a lot to ask for?